England to play midweek matches in South Africa
April 17, 2012
England will take on the Springboks in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium © Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union has confirmed that England will play two midweek tour matches during their three-Test series with South Africa.
In a return to the more traditional style of touring, England will face two representative sides in between the second and third Tests. While their three-Test schedule takes in Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, they will also journey to Kimberley and Potchetstroom.
The match in Kimberley - against a South African Barbarians South side - will take place on June 13 while the clash in Potchetstroom will involve a representative side from the north of South Africa. The teams will be made up from eight of the Currie Cup sides.
England's Tour Schedule
The South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux praised the decision. "I think all rugby fans will be excited by the idea of having England on tour in South Africa for five matches over three weeks. South Africa has not hosted a three-Test tour against a single nation since the visit of New Zealand in 1996, so this will be a special occasion for all of us. The Rugby Football Union has also agreed to two midweek matches, which gives us the opportunity to take international rugby away from the major metropolitan centres. It also presents a chance for players outside of the Springbok and Vodacom Super Rugby camps to demonstrate their ability against top-flight international opposition."
It will be Stuart Lancaster's first southern hemisphere tour in charge of England and he is relishing the chance to test his charges against some of the best players South Africa has to offer.
"This will be a massive and exciting challenge for us," he said. "England have never had a three-Test series in South Africa and, with two midweek games against opponents who will be desperate to impress, these five games gives us a great opportunity for a wider group of players to put their hat in the ring and gain international experience. We were pleased with the progress we made in the Six Nations and this tour is another important step on the journey towards 2015."
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